American Songcatcher

American Songcatcher

Tracing the roots of American music from its cultured past to artists playing it forward, join folk musician Nicholas Edward Williams in thi audio documentary-style podcast series. Each episode uncovers the lesser-known journey behind one traditional song, followed by four stories of musicians in American roots music, up to someone carrying tradition today. From immigrants who brought their music to Appalachia, to songs of the South: Gospel, Blues, Country, and the Folk music derived from it all. We'll go behind the curtain of the pioneers, and hear the stories of the under-represented. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/americansongcatcher/support

Episodes

May 1, 2022 40 min

Featured in this Episode:

Johnny Cash


Teaser:

The story of the enigmatic “Man in Black” is a vast ocean that is impossible to cover every detail. But this three part series will attempt to further explain what listeners know about Johnny Cash, debunk a few myths, and uncover fascinating moments in his life that are lesser known. In essence, we’ll be looking further behind the curtain of the legend known as JR Cash than exceptional...

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Featured in this Episode:

Johnny Cash


Teaser:

The story of the enigmatic “Man in Black” is a vast ocean that is impossible to cover and give every detail. But this three part series will attempt to further explain what listeners may think they know about Johnny Cash, broaden the understanding of his personal life, and uncover fascinating moments in his career that are lesser known, misunderstood, or flat out wild. In essence, we’l...

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February 21, 2022 69 min

Celebrating Black History Month! 


Featured in this Episode:

Traditional - “Stagger Lee” (:42)

Memphis Minnie (15:45)

Lightnin’ Hopkins (29:21)

Taj Mahal (48:55)


Teaser:

This notorious murder story has been covered in more genres, by more artists and across more multi-media platforms than any other in history, while somehow remaining relatively obscure. She’s known as the queen of the country blues, and queen of the Chicago blues,...

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Today on the program, I’m pleased to bring you a very special episode through American Songcatcher, sharing a wonderful podcast called Basic Folk in our feed. Now some of you may already be aware of these in-depth, honest interviews with host Cindy Howes, but I feel like the rest of you should get on board!

Sure, there are many conversational podcasts out there, but Basic Folk sets itself apart with honest and complex conversations...

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Featured in this Episode:

Jean Ritchie (:28)

Ola Belle Reed (17:48)

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard (35:41)

Alison Krauss (55:54)


Teaser:

Her family is considered one of the wealthiest in the ballad tradition, preserving hundreds of songs from their lineage to Scotland in their home of Kentucky, and is single-handedly responsible for bringing the Appalachian dulcimer to prominence in America. Born in the mountains of North Carol...

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December 5, 2021 85 min

Season 2, Episode 3 // God's Golden Shore

Featured in this Episode:

Traditional - “Man of Constant Sorrow” (:28)

Ma Rainey (13:08)

Bill Monroe (31:40)

Patsy Cline (51:29)

Bruce Molsky (1:08:17)


Teaser:

Thought to be rooted in the early hymns brought to America, this old-time folk song has reveled in the spotlight more than once in the roots music community, especially after being featured in the 2000 film “O’ Brother Where Art...

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November 9, 2021 33 min

It’s a pleasure to bring you the second half of this special short series Side A // Side B, bringing some depth to the songs from my recently released traditional record “Folk Songs For Old Times’ Sake”. Today, we’re flipping the record over, and diving in to the history behind Side B.

Side B Tracklist:

Goin’ Down This Road Feelin’ Bad (Traditional)

Saint James Infirmary (Traditional)

Midnight Special (Traditional)

Barbry Allen (Tr...

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November 6, 2021 33 min

Since releasing the podcast, I’ve had a lot of people ask if the renditions at the end of each segment will be released, or streamable. Well I’m happy to say that over the last six months, I’ve been hard at work on a traditional record called Folk Songs For Old Times’ Sake, that is now available on all platforms, as well as limited edition vinyl. Several of these rearranged songs are traditionals, and some are from artists covered ...

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October 30, 2021 78 min

Season 2, Episode 2 // Oh Little Liza

Featured in this Episode:

Traditional - “Lil' Liza Jane” (:28)

Dock Boggs (11:22)

Snooks Eaglin (25:54)

Nina Simone (43:36)

Billy Strings (1:04:18)


Teaser:

Today, this song is a standard in New Orleans brass bands as well as old-time music, but its earliest iterations started as a sea shanty. His three finger-style banjo picking was directly inspired by early African American string bands,...

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September 27, 2021 78 min

Season 2, Episode 1 // Ain't Gonna Study War No More

Featured in this Episode:

Traditional - “Down by The Riverside” (00:27)

Mance Lipscomb (10:28)

Ramblin’ Jack Elliot (23:31)

Emmylou Harris (45:17)

Chris Thile (57:27)


Teaser:

After the civil war, songs such as these were created and sung from Alabama to Ohio for a perilous journey through the Underground Railroad, where the enslaved were in pursuit of their freedom. He wasn’...

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For the final collaboration of the “Sitting In” miniseries, I’m excited to share a fantastic multi-instrumentalist, fluent in clawhammer banjo and slide blues guitar, named Cristina Vane. Born in Italy, and living many places overseas before arriving in America at 18 years old, Cristina accumulated a wealth of culture and a diverse range of songs before discovering her love for pre-war blues and the likes of the pioneers Skip James...

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Today on the program will be my sixth guest for the “Sitting In” mini-series, Jody Carroll. Jody is a performer and songwriter who effortlessly creates bold interpretations of old Blues and American Folk music, and makes them his own improvisational musical journeys.?He’s a finger-style and slide guitar master, and a soulful singer blending flavors of Blues, Folk, Mountain music, Jazz and Rock all together into a true power- packed...

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The fifth edition of the “Sitting In” miniseries features a new project by international touring Irish musician Dylan Walshe. Steeped in the traditions of folk, Irish, Blues, Singer-songwriter and roots music, Dylan has received wide acclaim from all over, including Dave King of Flogging Molly who has said that “The future of songwriting is safe in the hands of this man.”

This episode features Dylan’s new music podcast, The Stirrin...

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Good people! I'm so pleased to share my fourth guest to embark on this “Sitting In” mini-series, a local legend in my neck of the woods, Chattanooga’s own Lon Eldridge. Harboring a unique blend of traditional pre-war blues, ragtime, jazz and swing, Lon has spent the last two decades evoking the styles of those who laid the framework of these genres, from the likes of Mississippi John Hurt to Robert Johnson to Blind Blake and co...

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Hey Folks! I’m so pleased to share the 3rd act of this “Sitting In” miniseries with you, none other than the inimitable Willi Carlisle. A multi-faceted writer, performer, and instrumentalist, Willi has spent the last several years collecting folklore, playing or calling square dances, and working in the avant-garde. He’s a folksinger with a style forged in the fire of Ozark old-time, and has a masters degree in Poetry. He’s spent y...

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Hey Folks! I’m thrilled to share the second part of the “Sitting In” mini-series, where I hand over the podcast reins to some of my folky friends, so that they can share a story that ties into music preservation and play a few songs in line with their story.

My guest today is Sparrow, who along with her partner Keith, leads the Asheville, NC group The Resonant Rogues, who seamlessly weave the threads of old time, country, swing, fo...

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Today, I’m delighted to share the first “Sitting In” mini-series episode with you, where I’ve handed the podcast reins over to a music preservationist and performer. First up, is a story of the African American spiritual turned protest song called “We Shall Not Be Moved”, written and spoken by Matthew Sabatella.

Matthew’s mission is to “connect people with music that is woven into the fabric of the United States”. He’s a singer, wr...

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Today I have the pleasure of sharing a conversation I had with multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Jay Cobb Anderson, co-founder of the group Fruition, who has been making big waves in the major festival circuit during the last decade with blends of traditional sounds, contemporary folk and bluegrass, and most recently the roots of rock and roll.

We talked about Jay’s busking journey, how he reached the other members of Fr...

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May 29, 2021 56 min

Today, I’m delighted to share a talk I had with mandolin prodigy and Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Sierra Hull. Accomplishing more in her first 28 years of life than most could over a few lifetimes, Sierra made her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 10, played Carnegie Hall at age 12, then landed a deal with Rounder Records at 13. Sierra was mentored by Alison Krauss and Chris Thile, she’s collaborat...

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Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a conversation I had with Oliver Wood. Since 2004, Oliver has been the frontman of The Wood Brothers, blurring the boundaries between folk, gospel, country-soul, and blues, earning an international audience and a Grammy Award-nomination along the way. Alongside his brother Chris Wood, of Medeski Martin and Wood, as well as percussionist Jano Rix, The Wood Brothers have embodied the future of ro...

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